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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Will San Francisco Ditch Instant Runoff Voting? It is quite possible.

Will San Francisco put Instant Runoff Voting out of its misery? A possible repeal of Instant runoff voting was discussed by the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce at a meeting last Thursday, June 18th. Time Redmond of the San Francisco Bay Guardian reports on this in
Will downtown go after IRV? and Rob Richie of Fair Vote blogs at HuffPo, complaining that business groups want to ditch IRV, and that a poll shows that voters are agreeable:
Lessons from downtown business attacks on instant runoff voting in San Francisco

San Francisco has given instant runoff voting a 5 year long chance to prove its worth. The City has spent a fortune for specialized voting machines that have yet to meet state standards for voting systems, machines that haven't been federally certified, spent a fortune training poll workers and educating voters only to be told by a Grand Jury that it isn't enough and more is needed. SF even adjusted campaign finance laws. After letting IRV play out to the max - IRV has not worked as advertised.

After 5 years of Instant Runoff Voting, are San Francisco voters attached to IRV?
In 2007, many SF Voters did not utilize the option to rank choices. 94% of absentee voters did not list 3 choices on their ballots in the November municipal election, even though the field of candidates for mayor was large. There was confusion over ranking. According to a Nov 8, 2007 Electionline report , "Voters also questioned the value of ranked-choice voting." "There are a lot of people who only mark one [candidate] or the same person three times," ..."I don't want to vote for a second one, I want this one."

Since implementing IRV, San Francisco's election costs have escalated

2000-2001 Actual 9,024,000
2001-2002 Actual 13,872,000 includes the cost of $1,322,849 for a runoff election & $150,000 due to litigation costs
2002-2003 Actual 8,610,553
2003-2004 Actual 15,204,781
2004-2005 Actual 10,400,868
2005-2006 Actual 11,930,228
2006-2007 Actual 10,062,052
2007-2008 Actual 14,839,686

Sometimes mistakes have to be owned up to. This is that time. It is time for San Francisco to cut its losses, ditch instant runoff voting.